Tuesday, May 23, 2017

ARC Review: Come Sundown by Nora Roberts

Pub. Date:May 30, 2017
Publisher:St. Martin's Press
Length:480 pages

I devour every J.D. Robb novel that comes out, but I don't often find myself grabbing the Nora Roberts books. I don't have any rhyme or reason for that, other than time and opportunity. I do have some of the Nora Roberts audiobooks lined up for a my road trip next month though, so I can at least start working on the backlog.

Come Sundown is a a modern western romance, set on a horse ranch and resort in the beautiful landscape of Montana. Between the horses and the detailed landscape, it really has me wanting to go spend some time on a dude ranch (and maybe rope me a cowboy)!

Monday, May 22, 2017

ARC Review: Positively Pippa by Sarah Hegger

Series:     Ghost Falls #1
Pub. Date:May 30, 2017
Length:352 pages

As a fan of Sarah Hegger's Sir Arthur's Legacy series, this is my first time giving her contemporary romance a shot. I'm not a huge reader of contemporary romance because I have gotten rather picky (it's a side effect of finding gray hair, I promise). But I will be adding Sarah to my trusted authors list for contemporary. Positively Pippa checked all my boxes with mature characters, a likable heroine, a fun flirty hero, a lovable secondary character, minimal angst and drama, and an awesome setting.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Audiobook Review: King by Eve Langlais

Series:     Space Gypsy #4
Pub. Date:April 25, 2017
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrator:Chandra Skyye
Length:8 hrs 47 min

I am sad that this fun and entertaining space odyssey romance series come to an end... it's been a wild ride! There have been some major twists and turns that hit me out of left field, and King is no exception.

Rafe, The Chosen One, is finally on the path to the lead his people home to the lost Rhomanii planet. Emma and Mikhail are along for the ride and following Rafe's lead by necessity. That doesn't stop Emma from being a ridiculous damsel in need of saving... but she amazingly still hasn't gotten on my nerves. I found her horrid helplessness amusing most of the time. Mikhail is still the odd man out, which made him a sympathetic figure. He is pining for Emma, hated by his people, and trying to understand a confusing relationship with his brother.  

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Guest Review by Julie: Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs

Series:     Alpha & Omega #2
Pub. Date:Aug. 25, 2009
Publisher:Ace Books
Length:286 pages

Wolves, vampires and fae..oh my..

The wolves are gathering for negotiations about coming out publicly to humans. Not all in attendance are in agreement with the plan, and something sinister is afoot.

I loved this entry! Anna has come a long way since her initial introduction, Charles has more humor and romanticism than I thought he was capable of, and the wolf drama..I so enjoy when the villains get their comeuppance!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Audiobook Review: Highland Blood by Melanie Karsak

Series:     Celtic Blood #2
Pub. Date:Jan. 5, 2017
Publisher:Clockpunk Press
Narrator:Lesley Parkin
Length:5 hrs 38 min

Highland Blood picks up after that cliffhanger that killed me in Highland Raven. There was too much time between me reading the books, so I went back and re-listened to  Highland Raven before starting this one. (It was just as good the second time around!)

The Celtic Blood series is a fantastical retelling of the life of Lady MacBeth (a/k/a Gruoch, a/k/a Ceredwyn), from the time she was a young girl and progressing through her life in Medieval Scotland. Highland Raven focused on Gruoch's early life and meeting of her soul mate, Banquo. In Highland Blood, Grouch has returned from her time in the Otherworld with a marriage contract solidified to Gille Coemgain. Gruoch had to learn to let go of Banquo and accept her fate as a pawn of King Malcolm II.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Interview with Maya Banks for New Release: Just One Touch

A suspenseful and sizzling story of a young woman who 
escapes a terrifying past… into a more uncertain future.

Slow Burn #5
Maya Banks
Released May 9, 2017
Avon Books

Multiple #1 New York Times bestselling author Maya Banks continues her Slow Burn series with a suspenseful and sizzling story of a young woman who escapes a terrifying past… into a more uncertain future.

Monday, May 15, 2017

ARC Review: The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict

Pub. Date:Oct. 18, 2016
Length:304 pages

Sadly, this is one of my blogger shame books - a review copy that I received last year, but that fell through the cracks and didn't make it onto the blog. I'm glad that I have finally worked it into the schedule, because I enjoyed it a great deal. Marie Benedict brought the history of the Einsteins to life in a meld of fact and fiction that captivated me from beginning to end.

Admittedly, I feel like I know very little about Albert Einstein. Other than crazy hair and the theory of relativity, very little about him stuck with me from what little we were taught in school. That could be due to the fact that I was not particularly interested in math or science (that's why I became a lawyer), so my curriculum in school just didn't touch on his life and accomplishments. That being said, from what little I was taught, I know that neither of his wives were mentioned. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Audiobook Review: Slightly Tempted by Mary Balogh

Series:     Bedwyn #4
Pub. Date:Feb. 21, 2017
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrator:Rosalyn Landor
Length:11 hrs 29 min

The fourth installment of the Bedwyn Saga sees us leaving London and following the youngest sibling to Brussels in the days preceding the Battle of Waterloo. I liked the change of setting for this story, and I particularly enjoyed the time period. It seems that so many historical romances take place just after the Napoleonic Wars have ended, so I enjoyed we got some of the action and emotion of the fighting in this story.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Guest Review by Julie: A Tangled Web by M.L. Sparrow

Pub. Date:Feb. 1, 2017
Length:94 pages

I'm always leery of picking up a young adult story. I'm never sure if the story will be dripping in teenage angst or if it will be balanced teenage angst. Having said that, A TANGLED WEB turned out to be a really good-and reasonably balanced-read. And I admit it, I was leery when I started reading.

The story began slowly; teenage angst, lies, and misunderstandings played out before my eyes and had me questioning if I wanted to continue on. Happily I did, and found myself caught up in the earthquake, the ensuing aftermath and the wait to see what happened next. That part alone had me holding my breathe in high anticipation of an ending I wasn't sure would happen!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

ARC Review: The Witchfinder's Sister by Beth Underdown

Pub. Date:April 25, 2017
Publisher:Ballantine Books
Length:336 pages

This is the second debut author I have read this week, and I very impressed by the new talent on the scene. Beth Underdown delivers a morbidly fascinating look at the witch hunt that occurred during England's Civil War told from the perspective of the fictional sister to the Witchhunter General, Matthew Hopkins. This idea of telling the story of a historical figure from the perspective of that person's sister/daughter/wife has been trending for the last year or more, and I have to say that I do enjoy this method of storytelling. It provides a fresh look at history interweaving fact and fiction in a way that keeps the reader engaged and interested.

Matthew Hopkins was a cold man, sullen and spoiled with a quiet and calculating manner. I think he would have utterly terrified me if I had lived during this time period, as he seemed to have an aura of questionable evil about him. I couldn't tell if he really believed in witches, or if his motives were purely for revenge and a dislike of women in general. Neverthless, it is believed that Hopkins was responsible for the death of over 300 "witches" from 1644-1646. The women he targeted were often old, widowed, physically disabled or mentally infirm - and he would torture them until they confessed to devilish deeds of their own, and also reported on other women in the area. Hopkins authored the book, The Discovery of Witches (1647) detailing his methods and manner of investigation.

Monday, May 8, 2017

ARC Review: The Black Witch by Laurie Forest

Series:     Black Witch Chron. #1
Pub. Date:May 2, 2017
Publisher:Harlequin Teen
Length:608 pages

The Black Witch is Laurie Forest's debut novel, and I envision a promising career ahead for this new author. I was initially daunted by the length of the novel, thinking that I didn't have time to fit it in my schedule. But all the controversy (more on this later) made me want to read this book for myself - and once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. I read it over the course of a day and late into the night... and got killed by the cliffhanger! I got busy tweeting today to the author telling her to write fast because I need to know what happens... luckily she advises that the next installment is already written, so hopefully we won't have a horribly long delay.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Audiobook Review: Burn for Me by Cynthia Eden

Series:     Phoenix Fire #1
Pub. Date:April 18, 2017
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrator:Jillian Macie
Length:11 hrs 59 min

I am absolutely head over heels for Cynthia Eden's LOST series, so I have been wanting to try out some of her paranormals for a while now. I chose this series first because the paranormal characters seem unique - I can't think of any other phoenix stories that I have read. 

The long and short of it is that, aside from the romance, this is the story of an evil scientist conducting forced genetic experiments on supernaturals for the government. Richard Wyatt wants to make a super soldier assassin, one that can't be killed. He is well on his way to doing so with his favorite prisoner, Subject 13... until a pesky reporter shows up.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Guest Review by Julie: The Undying Legion by Clan and Susan Griffith

Series:     Crown & Key #2
Pub. Date:June 30, 2015
Publisher:Del Rey
Length:336 pages

Cast of characters:
Malcolm MacFarlane-a monster hunter
Simon Archer-magician/scribe
Kate Ansthruther-exemplary alchemist 
Penny Carter-gadget queen galore
Charlotte-tweenie werewolf 

Then toss in some Egyptian gods, nasty blood rituals, a crazy necromancer, zombies, and a fantasy/steampunk London, only to discover a story that seems to combine some of my favorite movies- A League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Sherlock Holmes comes to mind-into a fast-paced, suspenseful, and convoluted storyline I was fascinated with from start to finish! 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

ARC Review: Love Me Again by Jaci Burton

Series:     Hope #7
Pub. Date:May 2, 2017
Length:320 pages

Man, Jaci Burton has some of the absolute best covers on her books. This cover sucked me right in and I decided to jump into the series at this point, as I have not read the earlier books. While there is some character crossover, I think you are fine reading these books as standalones.

The setting for this series is the small town of Hope, Oklahoma where everyone knows everyone, and some adults haven't left behind the drama of high school. Following a disastrous marriage that failed spectacularly, our heroine has returned home to Hope with her inquisitive nine year-old daughter in tow. By all outward appearances, Loretta Simmons has her stuff together. She opened a book store which is doing well, she is a great mom with a great kid, and they have moved onto their own farm with plans for lots of animals. Her politician ex-husband is too busy for their daughter, Hazel, and is a huge disappointment for them both. I admired Loretta for wanting to be independent, and for doing what was best for herself and her daughter, even though things may have been uncomfortable for her in Hope. I did have a hard time connecting with her, because we just really didn't have much in common. This story features heavily on the "mom" aspect, and that's not my thing, but others will probably love this characteristic.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

ARC Review: Cold Reign by Faith Hunter

Series:     Jane Yellowrock #11
Pub. Date:May 2, 2017
Length:378 pages

After delivering two fantastic books in her new series, Soulwood, Faith Hunter is back with a dynamic offering in the long-standing Jane Yellowrock series. I was a late-comer to this series, discovering it after I read the Soulwood books, but Jane and Beast quickly became one of my favorite heroine/duos in urban fantasy. This is a series that you must read in order as its a continuing storyline, but I also recommend that you read it in publication order in conjunction w/ the Soulwood series, as there is some character crossover.

Monday, May 1, 2017

ARC Review: Marry in Haste by Anne Gracie

Series:     Marriage of Convenience #1
Pub. Date:May 2, 2017
Length:320 pages

This is the first time I have read Anne Gracie, but she has been on my list since I met her at the RT Convention last year. She was great fun! I am excited for this series as well because marriages of convenience and stolen brides are my tied for my favorite historical romance trope, and to have a whole series has me greedy for the next book. The setting of this story is Bath and London in the early 19th Century after the end of the Napoleonic wars, and our main characters are roughly 28 y/o.